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Compton Hill Tower

The Compton Hill tower stands 179 feet high and is the youngest of the three. Dating from 1898, its French-Romanesque design is by one Harvey Ellis, whose credits also include City Hall, in association with George Mann.

The Compton tower and its brethren originally served as pressure regulators for the city's water supply, much of which was stored in the reservoir immediately adjacent to the tower. Pressure spikes in the steam-powered pumping system could potentially damage pipes. The solution was a 100-foot-plus standpipe, which the tower was built to conceal.

The standpipe remained in service until 1929. A room at the top of the tower was open to the public until the 1970s, and offered a grand vista of the city.

Tower and reservoir both recieved a $19 million renovation beginning in 1998. The reservoir was refurbished with new tanks (reducing its capacity to from 84 to 14 million gallons, reflecting its diminished role in the city's water supply.) Architectural details along the outside of its walls, long weathered away or destroyed by makeshift patches, have been reproduced.

The tower stands in Compton Hill Reservoir Park, which is primarily occupied by the reservoir itself. The right-of-way for I-44 sliced off a section of the park, and also necessitated the moving of the once-controversial sculpture which now stands near the base of the tower.

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